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La Niña knocking at the door as El Niño says goodbye

Thursday 17 March 2016 | Published in Regional

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HAWAI‘I – A new report from the National Weather Service predicts the strong El Niño that brought a record number of hurricanes, huge winter surf and a dry winter to Hawai‘i should begin to end late this spring or early this (northern hemisphere) summer.

“All models indicate that El Niño will weaken,” the Climate Prediction Center said last week.

El Niño, the above-average warming of waters around the equator, is likely to return to average temperatures and chances are increasing for La Niña, cooler than average ocean temperatures, to develop by fall.

“The El Niño is beginning to weaken and we’re expecting it to lose its grip on our weather going into the summer,” said Derek Wroe, a meteorologist with the Honolulu office of the National Weather Service.

For Hawai‘i, the end of El Niño likely means a continuation of below-normal rain and drought conditions that are likely to worsen over the summer.

“There might be periods of rain here and there, but we’re expecting it (rainfall)to remain below normal and worsen over the summer,” Wroe said.

It’s still too early to say how neutral or La Niña conditions might affect the upcoming hurricane season, which officially starts on June 1, Wroe said.

However “the chances of another active hurricane season like the one just experienced are not likely,” he said.

Residents are not likely to notice if La Niña develops because its impact on Hawaii’s weather is not as dramatic as El Niño, Wroe said.

“The effects of La Nina are not as clearly defined,” he said.

- Honolulu Star Advertiser